A natural language processing tool is software that can analyze text and extract meaning from it.
It can also be used to generate automated responses to customer queries or customer service requests.
But how is this related to our Entity SEO approach?
Well, when describing certain information on a page or a website to a search engine, you must make sure that it understands it in precisely the way that you intend.
In other words, you have to communicate clearly to the search engine what is being described and how it should be processed.
This becomes even more important when considering that Google is getting better and better at processing content and understanding the context of a statement.
We will talk about this in greater detail further on in this article.
What Are Entities and Why They Matter for SEO?
In order to have a high-performance website that ranks well on Google, you need to understand the relationship between search engine algorithms and user experience.
In other words, search engines want to deliver the best possible user experience for their users, and therefore they will assign higher rankings based on this.
So you have to make sure that your content appeals to the search engine algorithms in this regard.
Google’s algorithms are smart enough to understand that the content of a given web page is about a particular topic.
An entity is a name given to this particular topic.
Essentially, we can think of it as a document, and we can imagine that each of the words on the page is a document — each document representing one entity — and if we were given a set of these documents and asked to group them together, we could quickly determine where they belong.
For example: “John Doe is an actor.”
Would be an associate of actor John Smith!
This is what search engines use to understand what is on the pages that they index.
When you look at a piece of content and search for it within Google, you need to know whether or not it is an entity.
In short, “an entity is a subject matter or object that appears as a keyword or phrase in the body text”.
What Do We Know About Entities?
Using the example above (“John Doe is an actor.” would be an associate of actor John Smith!) we can see that this information is interrelated with that of another entity (an actor).
So when using the phrase “John Doe” in our search, we can see that it will provide results related to both actors (John Smith and John Doe), because the relationship is clear.
The concept of entities can be extended to include more information than just individuals.
For example, in the example, above we can associate a business with a geographical area, a product with a category, or a store in a store.
The point is that you should understand the relationships between entities when writing your content.
Understanding the relationship between entities can help you to better focus your search engine optimization strategies because if you can decide what is important, you will be able to know what to write about.
The fact that entities are interrelated helps Google understand the context.
How Do You Develop an Entity Framework?
Most people who are trying to use this technique do not know how it works or how to implement it.
Every SEO professional should be familiar with the concept of the entity framework.
In its most basic form, the entity framework is a method of categorizing content in an approach that makes it easier to locate or classify according to a number of characteristics.
The framework helps us design a more manageable and understandable web page, which in turn leads to better search engine rankings.
A search engine can organize your website in a hierarchy, which consists of a central topic and the various themes that connect to it from different angles.
In addition, search engines can understand the relationship between each of these entities.
Entity Explorer is a free tool that can help you to learn more about these relationships.
What is an SEO entity?
In the previous section, we explained that entities are interrelated and that they can be grouped together to make a structure.
Based on this, it is important to understand what an SEO entity is.
An SEO entity is a representative area or part of a topic that appears as a keyword or phrase in the body text of website content.
It can include an entire category, subject matter, product, place, user group, or other criteria as well as multiple words or phrases.
By understanding these entities, you can filter the information that you are looking for.
For example, imagine that your website is about “My Italian Restaurant”.
On this page, you have a variety of different sections to include cooking classes, wine-tasting parties, and so on.
You could create SEO entities for each of these sections.
These would represent all of the topics discussed within your website content under one central topic related to your business model.
In this way, you will be able to see exactly where your content fits into your website as a whole.
In other words, you will be able to find links that lead from one entity to another or from one section of the site back to the main topic.
This is a much more efficient system for search engines because it allows them to quickly pinpoint all relevant content on a page.
SEO entities should be clean and easy to understand for both search engines and users.
Ranking Search Results Based on Entity Metrics
When it comes to how SEO entities are used, the most important thing to understand is that search engines will use different metrics depending on whether or not they are ranked in an organic search.
Search engine bots need to understand what your page or post is about.
Search engines give more weight to these results because they come from users who have searched for information about a specific topic or result from themselves, rather than being displayed at random based on algorithms.
The more relevant your content is, the more important your results will be.
Focus on creating content that addresses the needs of your target audience.
But, before all these. You have to make sure that your website is technically SEO audited so the crawlers can crawl, read, and finally index them.
Keyword vs Entity Approach
JustRank discussed earlier how important keywords are for ranking in an SEO campaign.
This is still true even though you will now be incorporating the entity framework into your content.
Are Keywords More Important Than Entities?
Make no mistake; if you want to rank higher in organic search results, you still need to incorporate keywords into your content.
However, an SEO entity can be a keyword or it can be a broader concept that incorporates multiple topics (keywords) related to one subject area.
How Do Entities and Keywords Work Together?
Understanding how these two concepts work together can help you to create a better structure for your SEO content.
Take the case of a site that is about a restaurant.
In this case, you could include an area where all of the properties and services would be listed, such as menus, photos, and so on.
In addition to this, you could have topics that were specific to each of these sections on the site.
Once you have made this list, it will be very easy to see how these areas are interrelated.
So, you could have “Italian Restaurant” as the main topic and all of the subtopics related to that entity would fall into place easily.
For example, you could have your menu, wine list, or recipes under each of these sections.
While you are developing your site structure at a top-level using entities, relate your entity to keywords that are in demand as keywords are still the mainstream on how people search and find your content.
Google’s Take on this SEO Topology
Google has a good understanding of this SEO topology and will use it to produce relevant results for each of your pages.
Google won’t take your entire website and make a broad assessment of the topics that it covers.
Instead, they will look at individual pages and evaluate them based on how many conversations take place around those topics.
The more popular any given topic, the more weight it will have when determining what to display in an organic search.
Combining with our on-page optimization, you’ll have a solid ranker for your webpage.
How does Google use entities?
Google is known for looking at different factors before deciding the placement of any given result in its index.
This includes things like links, anchor text, links, popularity, and freshness.
It is important to take into account that Google does not really care about the number of pages you have on your website.
It does not really matter if you have 100 or an infinite number of pages.
What matters to them is finding out what your page is about and how it connects with other pages on your website.
Entities are woven into the structure of your website, not just thrown together haphazardly.
This is why it is important that every page discusses the same topic.
Like keywords, you will want to ensure that your entities are shared on multiple pages of your site.
For example, you could have a page about wine-tasting parties and on this page, you would discuss wine on a number of different pages throughout the site.
This would allow a search engine to quickly determine what your website was all about.
You don’t have to worry about the number of pages you have because Google will be able to determine that from the content on each of those pages.
In this way, you can create a very thorough or niche website that is easy for both users and search engines to navigate through without worrying too much about it going stale.
How does Google detect entities?
To be honest, we have no idea.
In fact, we don’t know where they come from.
However, there does appear to be a methodology behind how they are used.
The more you focus on creating content about a certain topic, the more relevant that content will be when it comes time for Google to rank your website in the search engine results.
With Google’s emphasis on their latest MUM, multitask unified model, we can only foresee this would be a sensible way to use entities for SEO. This is part of the NLP understanding and as such, we must now look at how it fits into this system.
And with the ability of Rank Brain in understanding users’ search queries, it is certain that we are moving further away from the keywords-centric to entities understanding approach.
Some claimed that Google utilizes Wikipedia to identify entities’ topics, but while it can be true to some extent, it’s no surprise that they actually did build out a database for this purpose.
How to Shift Your Strategy to entity-based SEO?
While there are many different ways that you can shift your SEO strategy to become more entity-based, there are four steps that everyone should consider if they want to see results over the long term.
These steps include:
- Create a map of the entities on your website. This will allow you to quickly identify gaps in your SEO content and help you to fix them. You probably won’t have all of the entities mapped out at first, but this is ok because you can do it as time allows.
- Become familiar with the entities on your website. This means investigating each of them to make sure they are on point. If you do not know what an entity is on your website, you will need to research it or find someone who does know before you can begin incorporating it into your content.
- Create foundational pages that talk about each of these entities in detail. Each of these pages will have a specific goal in mind, such as describing the entity, linking out to other pages that talk more about it, or listing a few links that mention it.
- Make sure that each of these foundational pages links to an area on your website that is relevant to the topic you are discussing. Some pages will link out to landing pages while others may simply link the user to other parts of your website so that they can get more information.
Additionally, use schema markup so the search engine bot can better parse and understand the content on your site.
Following the steps above will allow you to start thinking about SEO in a whole new way.
However, these are just a few of the things you need to take into account when you are trying to make this shift for yourself.
For example, Google will look at many different things before it decides how to rank any given page.
It will look at the age of your website, especially if it is new, are you authoritative enough to be the key difference in your niche, or do your site need technical fixes, and etc.
There are many reasons why you should consider making the switch from keyword-based SEO to one that is entity-based.
First, it gives you a chance to expand upon your website and add value for users and search engines.
Second, it is more in line with how people are looking for things online. With more new searches that Google had never seen before, it can only make sense that the giant search engine improve on its understanding of all these new queries.
Finally, it is a great way to increase the relevancy of your site for search engines.
By making this shift to entity-based SEO, you will be able to keep your website relevant and intact, thus increasing its value for both users and search engines.
If you need any help or would like to discuss any of this further, do drop us a message.
Need a second opinion on your technical SEO?